Guide to Going Local

Guide-to-Going-LocalGuide to Going Local: Building Stronger, Healthier, and More Vibrant Communities

The Center for a New American Dream and BALLE
Lisa Mastny and Alissa Barron-Menza

First published August 2012

We say we want vibrant local economies, healthy neighborhoods, and downtown areas, and less sprawl into our outlying green spaces— but we don’t always support the existing local options that will help us realize this vision. Why does “going local” matter?

It’s about:

  • Building communities that are healthier and more sustainable, supported by local economies that are stronger and more resilient;
  • Keeping money local and communities vibrant;
  • Using local and regional resources to meet our needs, not being dependent on resources shipped from halfway across the globe;
  • Reconnecting eaters with farmers, investors with entrepreneurs, and business owners with the communities and natural places on which they depend;
  • Creating more high-quality local jobs—for our neighbors, our families, and ourselves; and
  • Recognizing that we can’t just “do it alone” and that, in the end, we’re all better off when we’re all better off.

We need to invest in communities that celebrate a more comprehensive vision of happiness and prosperity, where all people have the resources and opportunities they need to engage their minds, nourish their bodies, nurture their families, support their neighbors, and protect their environment. But even as we focus on our own communities, it’s important for us to recognize our broader role in crafting a larger, global network of cooperatively interlinked and sustainable local economies.

As individuals and as communities, we have tremendous power to change the way our economy operates. By working collaboratively and sharing resources, we can come together to build vibrant and supportive local economies—where we can share our skills and talents, get our needs met, and focus on what really matters in life. In this Guide to Going Local, we invite you to explore our action ideas, informative videos, and practical tips to get started!

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